When a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, and an atheist walk on to a stage…What in God’s name could possibly go wrong? After one comic bails, a live comedy concert film that started as an exercise in co-existence turns into a documentary, as the filmmakers desperately go in search of a funny Christian.
Watch the trailer and read an interview with Director Larry Brand below!
Can you give us a brief sketch of the movie?
LARRY BRAND: I heard about the Coexist Comedy Tour where representatives of the major religions would each do a set of comedy, making fun of each other and of themselves. I thought it would be interesting to shoot the Sacramento show with 4 cameras, like a concert film and see what happened.
After the show, we learned that the Christian comedian had decided not to sign. That put us in the awkward position of having a film about coexistence where the comedians couldn’t coexist.
Most of the movie is about the search to fill that role. Why was it so challenging and what was the ultimate impact on the film?
LB: One of the running themes through the film is “What do you think is the funniest religion?” Some of the comedians would argue it’s their own, but there are funny people from all religions. I think it’s how you say it – it’s like Christian Rock. When you have someone who presents themselves as a Christian comedian, they tend to have a sanitized presentation.
We held auditions and found quite a few funny people in that search, and quite a number who where not. The story of how we got to our comedian is fun and intriguing, and I think it shows how you can turn disadvantages into advantages. Losing our Christian comedian ultimately made it a funnier film.
Ultimately we ended up with John Fugelsang. He’s such a pro and rounded out the set quite nicely.
The central premise of your film is to get comedians from all these religions together to see if they can coexist. What was the most important thing you learned through the film that might make this possible?
LB: I find that the only thing I learn from making films is how to make films. What I found in the film is the same thing you find in any endeavor: that it’s hard to get along. When you get any group together there’s a lot of tension that occurs.
Ultimately, this film is an hour a half of entertainment. We’re not creating world peace here.
Tell us about your Traverse City connection.
LB: I’ve been to the Traverse City Film Festival four or five times, and I enjoy myself any time. This is the third film I’ve made with (Leland-based producers) Rebecca Reynolds & Jim Carpenter, so this isn’t the first time that our NY/LA/Traverse City product has come to Traverse City. We are finishing another film called Girl on the Train.
Do you have a favorite winter hat?
I love the cold, I actually had to move from LA to New York in the winter because I don’t like warm winters. I have friends who complain about the cold in New York City, so every so often I will take off my jacket and shirt and walk a few blocks. I’ve done it as cold as 22 degrees, so if anyone in Traverse City there is complaining about the cold, they might get a performance.
I may wear a hat. I may not. In fact, I’ll challenge both Mike & Jeff to a shirtless walk down Front Street.
Stay tuned and get your tickets for the Coexist Comedy Tour at 1 PM on Saturday, February 16th at the State Theatre…